One of the absolute best ways to succeed in your small business is to define and identify who your target customer is, or your “ideal” customer.
There is a number of ways this can be done. Probably the most common is to create what is called a Buyer Persona. At different levels of the sales funnel, there is a particular “type” of customer who needs to be marketed to. They display certain habits that are somewhat unique to their character type, and are more likely to be interested in what you have to offer based on what it can do for them.
You must also define what type of person is actually the most likely to purchase your product in the first place. Start there. One of the best examples I can give you of this is those Oxi-Clean commercials. Notice how in those commercials you see features such as soccer players with dirty jerseys, the classic “soccer mom” van, and then you see the mom herself interacting with the market?
There is only one type of person who is going to connect deeply with that marketing–the middle aged soccer mom–but they cornered the market with it! You don’t have to provide a solution for everyone–you need to provide THE solution for someone.
I believe that there are three things we can do in our small businesses that will help us start to attract our target, or ideal customer:
#1: Know who they are.
We have obviously already covered this a bit–but how in the world can you market to your customer if you are not sure who they are? Most companies make the mistake of marketing to everybody! The problem is, they’re not selling to anybody!
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but, the internet is a HUGE place! If you’re company depends on ANY of its business to come from the online marketplace (which most do), it is not going to go over very well if you have made the entire world your market base.
You simply cannot please that many people, and you most definitely cannot market to that many people. The good news is, the soccer mom theory still works! Soccer moms are soccer moms whether the product is sold on TV, online, or even in a local store. That is a transcendent market demographic that can be effectively marketed to.
Homework: As one of your very next activities on the marketing agenda, make time to either define or refine your ideal customer. Make sure you get as specific as you possibly can so that your marketing efforts will be fruitful and effective. Report back if you see an increase in your volume of sales!
#2: Tell them what they need.
Another very common mistake is that most businesses assume the customer is aware of the need for their services. Now in some cases, this is true. If you are selling socks and underwear, you are likely to have at least ONE buyer! Everybody needs that. But you are a small business. And you should not confuse big business marketing for the type of marketing you should be doing.
Here’s what I mean: You cannot out-dollar the big dogs. Walmart and Target just simply have more advertising dollars than you do. You won’t win. Wix and Squarespace have more advertising dollars than I do. I won’t win. So your educational factor must be through the roof as a small business!
To make this more personal and practical: Why do you think I am writing this blog? I want to educate you. Yes, I’d like to sell to you–but it’s not so cut and dry. You likely will not read this blog post and immediately head to my contact page and convert from a prospect into a customer.
The difference is that I am educating you, for free, about topics you may or may not have knowledge about. Then, if in the future you find yourself needing someone with knowledge that I have, I can only pray that you remember how gracious I was to share what I know for free.
See, Wix and Squarespace share a similar customer base to me–but they do not offer the same solution (more on that in the next point). Most people believe they need a website, and assume that will automagically bring them new customers. That is why they sign up with companies like that. They see a low barrier to entry into a website, and then expect that to live up to their expectations.
I am trying to tell you that what you need is not a new website, but more customers, more visibility, more trust established, etc. I am trying to find out how a new website can and will accomplish your goals. But first, I have to educate you that just throwing up a flashy new site will not necessarily get the job done.
You must inform your customer of what they actually need.
#3: Solve the problem they have.
So this is where the rubber meets the road. Everything to this point must line up right here and remain consistent. Your solution must be consistent with the customers problem. The customers problem must be consistent with who the customer is. In other words, if my solution is web design, my customers’ current problem is that she needs a bigger minivan, and the customer I have identified is a 35 year old stay-at-home soccer mom, I have missed the mark somewhere.
In contrast, if my solution is a website that is built to attract customers and build trust, my customers’ problem is that they are a small business struggling to find new local customers, and I have identified them as a middle aged couple who are local entrepreneurs, well then I have hit the nail on the head.
Educating your customer helps with this a bunch. That’s why I love educational marketing–as long as you are targeting the right people up front, and the right people are educated by you, you have a much easier time making the sale and establishing a long term productive relationship with that customer.
Remember–make sure the solution you are offering is directly related to the problem you have informed your customers about. As long as you do that, you will be well on your way to continually attracting your ideal customer to your business rather than having to go out and go fishing for them.[bctt tweet=”You don’t have to provide a solution for everyone–you need to provide THE solution for someone.” username=”northmacsvc”]
Question: Have you found any new and interesting ways to educate your customers? I want to hear from you! We’ll do a spotlight on your business and what you have found to work. Leave a comment below!